Background Segment Effect

A background image segment effect as seen on Filippo Bello's Portfolio, employing the CSS clip-path property and powered by anime.js.

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Today we’d like to share a little decorative effect with you that we’ve encountered on Filippo Bello’s Portfolio, maybe you’ve seen it. It’s a really neat way to add some jazz to background images. The idea is to replicate boxes from a background with the same background image and make these boxes move in perspective towards the viewer. Adding a fitting shadow and some parallax makes all this look quite interesting. Furthermore, we’re employing anime.js, the easy-to-use JavaScript animation library by Julian Garnier.

Have a look at the effect seen on Filippo’s portfolio:



The technique that we use for this effect is based on the CSS clip-path property. Although the technique seen on Filippo’s portfolio uses a different approach (background-size: cover combined with background-attachment: fixed), we found that Firefox does not seem to like that combination.

Update: After first using just the CSS clip property, we’ve updated the script to use clip-path when supported. CSS clip is deprecated but still works as a great fallback for clip-path (rectangular shapes). Thanks to Larry for pointing that out in the comments!

Attention: We are using 3D Transforms which are not supported in older browsers.

The Segment Effect

The script that we’ve built takes care of the basic functioning of the segment effect which includes a couple of adjustable options.

For the markup we simply need a division and a background image:

<div class="segmenter" style="background-image: url(img/3.jpg)"></div>

The script turns this into the following structure:

<div class="segmenter">
    <div class="segmenter__background" style="background-image: url(img/3.jpg);"></div>
    <div class="segmenter__pieces">
        <div class="segmenter__piece-wrap">
            <div class="segmenter__shadow" style="top: 80%; left: 10%; width: 30%; height: 20%"></div>
            <div class="segmenter__piece" style="background-image: url(img/3.jpg); -webkit-clip-path: polygon(10% 80%, 40% 80%, 40% 100%, 10% 100%); clip-path: polygon(10% 80%, 40% 80%, 40% 100%, 10% 100%)"></div>
        <div class="segmenter__piece-wrap">
            <div class="segmenter__shadow" style="top: 2%; left: 2%; width: 40%; height: 40%"></div>
            <div class="segmenter__piece" style="background-image: url(img/3.jpg); -webkit-clip-path: polygon(2% 2%, 42% 2%, 42% 42%, 2% 42%); clip-path: polygon(2% 2%, 42% 2%, 42% 42%, 2% 42%)"></div>
        <div class="segmenter__piece-wrap">
            <div class="segmenter__shadow" style="top: 30%; left: 60%; width: 30%; height: 60%"></div>
            <div class="segmenter__piece" style="background-image: url(img/3.jpg); -webkit-clip-path: polygon(60% 30%, 90% 30%, 90% 90%, 60% 90%); clip-path: polygon(60% 30%, 90% 30%, 90% 90%, 60% 90%)"></div>
        <div class="segmenter__piece-wrap">
            <div class="segmenter__shadow" style="top: 10%; left: 20%; width: 50%; height: 60%"></div>
            <div class="segmenter__piece" style="background-image: url(img/3.jpg); -webkit-clip-path: polygon(20% 10%, 70% 10%, 70% 70%, 20% 70%); clip-path: polygon(20% 10%, 70% 10%, 70% 70%, 20% 70%)"></div>

As you can see, the images becomes a division with a background image and all pieces are wrapped into the segmenter__pieces div. Each piece consists of an element for the shadow (if set) and an element for the image piece that has a clip-path (clip: rect(), if not supported) defined based on the options input we define.


The styles needed for this to work are the following (vendor prefixes omitted):

.segmenter {
	width: 100vw;
	height: 100vh;
	position: relative;
	overflow: hidden;

.segmenter__piece {
	position: absolute;
	width: 100%;
	height: 100%;
	top: 0;
	left: 0;
	transform-style: preserve-3d;

.segmenter__piece-parallax {
	transition: transform 0.2s ease-out;

.segmenter__pieces {
	perspective: 400px;

.segmenter {
	background-size: cover;
	background-repeat: no-repeat;
	background-position: 50% 50%;

.segmenter__shadow {
	position: absolute;
	opacity: 0;
	box-shadow: 0px 2px 15px rgba(0,0,0,0.7);

Note how the pieces all have the size of the full wrapper; it’s the clip-path that cuts them to the correct size and position. This element is hence a bit restricted as to what styles we can apply to it, i.e. we can’t just add a box shadow because the element is clipped.


Let’s have a look at the default options:

Segmenter.prototype.options = {
	// Number of pieces.
	pieces: 4, 
	// Show pieces already styled.
	renderOnLoad: false,
	// Add an element for the shadow.
	shadows: true,
	// Animations for the shadow (valid properties: opacity, translateX, translateY).
	shadowsAnimation: {
		opacity: 1,
		// translateX: 20,
		// translateY: 20
	// Parallax effect for the pieces.
	parallax: false,
	// Movements for the parallax effect.
	parallaxMovement: {min: 10, max: 40},
	// Animation for the pieces (valid properties: duration, easing, delay, opacity, translate[XYZ]).
	animation: {
		duration: 1500,
		easing: 'easeOutQuad',
		delay: 0, // Delay increment per piece.
		// opacity: 0.5,
		translateZ: {min: 10, max: 65}, // We can also use an integer for a specific value.
		// translateX: {min: -100, max: 100}, // We can also use an integer for a specific value.
		// translateY: {min: -100, max: 100} // We can also use an integer for a specific value.
	// Callbacks
	onAnimationComplete: function() { return false; },
	onAnimationStart: function() { return false; },
	// The positions of the pieces in percentage values. 
	// We can also use random values by setting options.positions to "random".
	positions: [
		top: 80, left: 10, width: 30, height: 20
		top: 2, left: 2, width: 40, height: 40
		top: 30, left: 60, width: 30, height: 60
		top: 10, left: 20, width: 50, height: 60


The options allow for a variety of looks, including the extreme abuse of the parallax effect to a psychedelic absurdum (in combination with several same-sized pieces):


We hope you enjoy this little effect and find it useful!

References and Credits

Note, that we’ve updated the script after publication to use clip-path (and clip as fallback only). Don’t forget to download the new version.

Browser Support:
  • ChromeSupported
  • FirefoxSupported
  • Internet ExplorerSupported from version 11
  • SafariSupported
  • OperaSupported

Tagged with:

Mary Lou

ML is a freelance web designer and developer with a passion for interaction design. She studied Cognitive Science and Computational Logic and has a weakness for the smell of freshly ground peppercorns.

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Comments are closed.
  1. Hi Lou,

    This is great! I am currently designing a website and I really do need a additional ideas on custom effects. Thank you. #convertbetter

  2. Amazing work as always. Very impressive. Wondering could you explain the formula you use for the mouse
    movement – the parallax effect. Its the part with transX = t/(self.dimensions.width)*ev.clientX – t/2. Can’t wrap my head around it.


    • Hi Tom,
      that is the formula of a line equation between two points: y = mx + b :
      Let’s see the case for the translateX value:

      t -> maximum value to translate. If t is 20, then we want the element to be able to translate from -10 to 10.
      self.dimensions.width -> the width of the main element (the screen’s width in this case).
      ev.clientX -> mouse position (x-axis)

      We want to translate the element as we move the mouse over the screen. For the translateX we will just take the mouse movement on the x-axis in consideration. If the mouse is on 0px then we want the element to translate -t/2, and if the mouse is on self.dimensions.width then the translation should be t/2. OK, so we have our two points:
      And the equation:
      y = (y2-y1)/(x2-x1) * ev.clientX + b <=>
      y = (t/2 – (-t/2))/(self.dimensions.width – 0) * ev.clientX + b <=>
      y = (2t/2)/self.dimensions.width * ev.clientX + (-t/2) <=> // b = -t/2 (y-axis intersection)
      y = t/self.dimensions.width * ev.clientX – t/2

      Hope this makes sense.

  3. Awesome effect but is there away to trigger the effect without having to click the “Show effect button” i.e When the page loads?

  4. This is amazing. I want to try this idea for my website. Thanks for sharing this. Is there a way to show the effect when the page loads?

  5. Fantastic Job and Effects
    Simply Amazed !!!

    I am trying to code a href in the trigger headline, but it disables the effect.
    Any Ideas ?

    Thank You All and Keep the Spirit